Saturday, June 30, 2012


 I admit, I am now obsessed with my hair after having lost it twice to cancer treatment. Now, I only use the best products available that are healthy and also environmentally safe, which means “green.”

 Fortunately, with the current trend in environment and health awareness, there are  more choices in safe shampoos. Some do more than clean your hair. They nourish, strengthen, and protect it in ways non-organic and some “natural” shampoos do not. 

What is the difference between commercial, natural, and organic shampoos? 100% pure may not be 100% organic, and that can be a problem. 

·         Organic shampoo is free of dyes, chemicals, synthetic ingredients or other potentially harmful irritants that could damage your hair or the environment.

·         All natural formulas do not contain synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances, chemical preservatives, sulfates or other detergents that can strip or dehydrate hair, but they may not be organic.

·         Organic may be natural as well, but the ingredients are also organic.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), some of the preservatives used to protect products can actually harm humans.  The consumer industry sells harmful items to us because its goal is to make products look and smell appealing without thought to the products’ safety value. Buyer beware!

Here are some ingredients that we do not want in our hair products and why.

Chemical preservatives- help shampoos last longer. Preservatives can be natural, like salt or sugar, or complex chemicals manufactured in laboratories.

Synthetic chemicals- laboratory made compounds that do not exist in nature. During WWII, chemists invented plastics, pesticides, solvents, degreasers, insulators, and other materials. There are now more than 100,000 synthetic chemicals on the market and in commercial shampoos where they can be absorbed into our bodies.

Paraben- A study conducted by the Department of Biology and Biochemistry of Brunel University in the UK found that alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butylparaben) have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body.  They believe that parabens absorbed through the skin of pregnant women may act like an alien female hormone, affecting the development of the fetus. Professor John Sumpter wrote an article in The Independent expressing concern that parabens may play a role in explaining why sperm counts in men have fallen and breast cancer is on the rise.

Gluten- use gluten-free shampoos if you are suffering with any gluten intolerance symptoms. Here are some “scientific references” found on shampoo labels, which are biological names for gluten—amino peptide complex, samino peptide complex, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed malt extract, phytosphingosine extract, stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl, hydroxypropyltrimonium, beta glucan, prolamine, maltodextrin, and cyclodextrin.

Sodium nitrate and nitrite- preservatives that help prevent discoloration and unpleasant odor. Studies have linked absorbing them to various types of cancer.

Sulfates- create the rich lather you get from shampoos. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Myreth Sulfate are the most commonly used sulfates in the shampoos. Research has shown that it damages hair follicles and can result in hair loss.

Sulfites- preservatives and antioxidants used to preserve color and to prevent unwanted bacteria from spoiling the natural ingredients in shampoo. They occur naturally in foods. One in every hundred people is sensitive or allergic to them. If you have asthma, your chances of sulfite sensitivity are one in ten.

Here are some healthy organic shampoos available in stores and online.

mim-MORROCCO METHOD INT’L is pure, raw, vegan holistic and organic. The four mim shampoos address different hair types and embrace the four elements of water, air, earth and fire. The Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo embraces fire.

Organix products are paraben, gluten, sodium and sulfate free, contain no lauryl or laureth sulfates. Products may be purchased in stores and online from websites including:,,,   For years this product was only available in select hair salons. Organix will not bleach out colored or highlighted hair and are not treated on animals.

John Masters Organic Lavender Rosemary Shampoo-  is made with 15 quality certified organic ingredients, does not contain sulfates, is designed to prevent hair loss and stimulate new growth, and is safe on color treated hair. 

Miessence Organic Shampoo- is a natural, organic, ultra-mild shampoo that is so safe it is edible. It only uses certified organic cold-pressed and unrefined oils and therapeutic grade herb and flower extracts that are cold-formulated so precious oils are never exposed to damaging heat.


Desert Essence Essence Organic Fregrence Free Shampoo- an unscented organic shampoo available at Lucky Vitamin

Organic shampoos are also great options for kids and pets because they are environmentally safe, healthy, all natural, gentle and good for our health.


About the author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos is a two- time breast cancer survivor who penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND. , Radio Co-host of Beyond the 5 Senses & is represented by Devra Jacobs- Dancing Word Group Literary Agency & Steve Allen PR Media. Follow her on FB@  T@ LI ,


“A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.”  ~The Talmud

There is almost always a point in the process of illness where logic, reason, and medical expertise fails. It’s at this point a patient slips through the cracks, sometimes never to  recover.

I survived breast cancer twice that was missed by the medical community and the conventional scientific tests on which they relied. I survived by using something many in the medical field do not even acknowledge as being real—my innate intuition and prophetic dreams.   Listen to them. One day they may save your life, too.

Twice my female intuition and dreams encouraged me to self-advocate a course of cancer testing, treatment and healing, often against hospital policy and the vehement advice of my doctors. That is as lucky as winning the lottery two times in a row. Luck had little to do with it. Devine intervention did. I always worked with my doctors, but never forgot to self-advocate and make the final decisions.

Dream therapy was part of my Integrative Medicine which combined modern scientific treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation with complementary therapies such as dream, meditation and REIKI.  We are far more than id, ego and super ego. We are spirit beings inhabiting a physical body that is experiencing life.  Dreams are doorways. When we are in crisis, those doorways between realms become very active.

 Connecting to and treating spirit through dreams can transform the physical, emotional, and spiritual lives of people living with chronic or life-threatening illness. Dreams used in concert with medical treatment and meditation can alleviate stress; reduce pain, anxiety, and other physical and emotional symptoms; and enhance quality of life. Learn to use your inner power in dreams to heal yourself and your doctors, especially during current times of change in the medical industry.

 Most dreams fall into seven categories that can overlap- Daydreams- you are awake but not focused on a task, Epic-a soap opera or entertaining storybook you pick up and continue nightly while asleep, Lucid-you know you are dreaming and  can control the outcome, Nightmares-who can forget that information! Recurring-because you didn’t “get it” the first time or solve the problem, Healing-emotional or physical information, Prophetic-comes true and can be validated by scientific tests or life events.

 Dream worlds are unique to the dreamer. What frightens one dreamer may enlighten another. A large snake in a dream may scare someone with a fear of snakes but to another it may be the Kundalini- the ultimate rising spiritual wisdom. Therefore, dream dictionaries based on universal archetypes are helpful, but limiting. As dreamers becomes more in tune with their inner-guidance, they will learn their own dream language.

If remembering or understanding  dreams is difficult, these six easy steps will help you develop dream memory and comprehend your unique dream language.

1.) Verbally voice an intention to remember dreams before you sleep. This will train you not to forget and subconsciously open the pathways to your guides and “physician-within.”

2.) Keep a notebook and pencil beside your bed.  Early morning dreams are easier to recall .When you awaken, write anything you remember. If you still have trouble, lie down in the same position you were in when you awoke and try to think back to the dream.

3.) If a dream is still allusive, describe your feelings when you first awoke—happy, sad, frightened or content and write down colors that pop into your memory. Over time, dreams will become longer as you begin to interface with yourself and your guides.

4.) If you are thinking about a deceased family member when you awaken, write their name and description. Chances are good that you saw them. They can give guided information and transform your dream or nightmare into prophetic or healing information. Family members are often given permission to return from the other side to guide us during times of crisis. We don’t just dream about them. We interact with them. They may appear younger or unrecognizable but will say or do something to identify themselves. That is validation. Sometimes validation is not immediate. It may come later from an event that jogs the memory.

5.) Give your dream a title, even if it is The Dream I Can’t Remember and categorize it. When some part returns during the day, jot it down on a piece of paper and add it to your dream journal. If you “didn’t get it” right you’ll probably have the dream again—a recurring dream.

6.) Trust but validate. You don’t need to watch or search for validation. If you had a prophetic dream, validation will present itself, possibly in the form of synchronicity; a meaningful coincidence of multiple similar events that are unrelated.

 My validation came in the form of surgery. After multiple mammograms, blood tests, and physical exams over a three month period, I should have been diagnosed with cancer, but wasn’t.  My lump was invisible to the medical community with whom I consulted.  However, my persistent self-advocating after recurring prophetic dreams told me I had cancer and to return to my doctor.  Exploratory surgery found a spot that couldn’t be felt and tests didn’t show existed.   The result was a diagnosis that shocked the medical community and changed my life, forever.

One of my most pressing challenges throughout this ordeal was deciding whom to trust—my doctors and their healthy scientific results, or my dreams and their dire messages. I decided to listen to both! I requested specific medical procedures and cross-checked them against my “guided information.” 

I remember the exact moment I received my validation.  “Pathology didn’t like what they saw when they cut open the tumor,” my surgeon said after closing the privacy curtain behind him.

“So, is it cancer?” I asked, holding onto the hospital gurney to brace myself for the answer I already suspected and feared.

“Yes, I’m sorry. It’s stage two. I’ll be referring you to a specialist, now.”

So my dreams had been right. The doctors and tests were wrong.  With my surgeon’s words, the first shot of my ensuing battle had been fired, and it was not a warning across my bow, it was point-blank into my breast. I glanced down at my painful wound and wept.
Thus began my Alice in Wonderland’s decent down the dark rabbit hole of breast cancer. The good news is I survived because I self advocated and believed in my dreams. They proved that we are never alone in our hour of need. Five years later, my dreams saved my life a second time when my stage-four cancer was missed by conventional tests.

 Upon hearing my diagnosis of cancer, I felt devastated, confused and alone. My diagnosis of recurrence was worse because I knew what I would go through, again. Not only was my life threatened, but also my quality of life. This disease leaves no belief system or relationship unchallenged while turning your world upside down and shaking it to its very foundations. My dreams were my saving-grace. They were a direct line to my Higher Power.

 Don’t tell your Higher Power how big your troubles are—tell your troubles how big your Higher power is and believe in the power of dreams—the celestial phone line.  

Throughout both of my treatments, prophetic and guided dreams urged me to be an active participant in my therapy. We seldom get anywhere by standing on the sidelines of the game of Life and Death with crossed fingers waiting for someone else to take action and make the right decisions for us. Life is not a spectator sport.  We are responsible for ourselves. I rolled up my sleeves and jumped back into the game. 

 My physicians and I worked as a team and taught each other important lessons. I learned that dreams do come true and that there is more than one way to skin a cancer.  My doctors learned to respect and listen to their patients.

In my dreams I met my doctor-within named Dr. Jules and my spirit guides who were dressed in brown hooded robes and leather sandals. They taught me that we all have spirit guides/guardian angels. We are their job. And, they take their job seriously.

 Meeting your doctor-within is a wonderful step to dreaming yourself to wellness.

About the author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos  is a two- time breast cancer survivor who penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND.  www.survivingcancerland  and is represented by Devra Jacobs DancingWord  Literary Agency & Steve Allen Media. Kathleen is a phone counselor for the R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mission- Not Impossible

My name is Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos and I am a woman on a double mission; to tell my story and save lives, one person at a time.  

As a two-time breast cancer survivor whose cancer was missed both times by doctors and the tests on which they relied, I am determined to raise awareness about the importance of self advocacy, and listening to our bodies. We must balance our body and spirit with  conventional and intuitive health practices for total health and wellness. Early detection of any illness is always important for complete healing.

   I survived aggressive breast cancer—twice—that was missed by physicians at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston Massachusetts and the scientific tests on which they relied; three mammograms, blood tests and physicals.

 “Go home. Your’re healthy,” my doctor said.  However, my dreams, inner guidance and female intuition empowered me with signs, symbols and information. I returned repeatedly and requested different  medical tests. The new test,  exploratory surgery and a pathology report, validated my dreams by founding the cancer.

While most women would be glad to hear that they were healthy and to go home, I knew my doctors words were incorrect and self advocated in order to live. I took chemo and radiation Therapy. I always worked with my doctors but never forgot to make the final decisions concerning my life.

 My first cancer was stage 2, the second was stage 4. The chances of dreams finding cancer missed by “state of the art medical tests” twice is as lucky as winning the lottery two times in a row. Luck had little to do with it. Divine intervention did. Listen to your Physician- within. Don’t tell your Higher Power how big your troubles are. She already knows. Tell your troubles how big your Higer Power is.

It is my goal to use my story to teach doctors how important it is for them to listen to their patients and patients how important it is not to give up in the face of adversity.

As an author, radio co-host, R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor, Cancer Question & Answer columnist, blogger for women’s online magazines and cancer sites, and inspirational speaker at Cancer Groups and Health Freedom Expos throughout the country, I am an advocate for organizations and movements based on encouraging women to stand up and be heard. Don’t take “No” for an answer and don’t be dismissed. Be a squeaky wheel until you are heard.

I continue to be inspired by sotries of women listening to their female intuition and becoming empowered by connecting with their physician-within.

We must find balance between our female intuition and conventional medicine for a healing that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. We are a combination of body and soul that uses conventional and spiritual healing. Finding balance is as easy as loving both.

About the author: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos is an author, Radio co-host Beyond the 5 Senses, Q&A cancer columnist for Cape Women Online Magazine, & RA BLOCH Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor. Her website @ Follow her @ FB;T!/PsychicHealing;LI